Aug. 3 (UPI) — President Donald Trump has nominated two individuals to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — who, if approved by the Senate, could help the regulatory agency act on a backlog of energy projects.
Trump nominated Democrat Richard Glick and Republican Kevin McIntyre to fill out the five-member panel, which has been without a three-person quorum for months.
FERC presently has just one sitting member, Cheryl LaFleur, a Democratic holdover from former President Barack Obama‘s administration.
Two other Trump nominees have been approved by the Senate Energy Committee, but their votes before the full chamber have been put on hold by Democrats because both were Republicans and the minority wanted to be assured one of the two open seats was given to a member of their party.
Glick’s nomination confirms that deal and would give Democrats two of the board’s five seats, while Republicans would remain in control.
FERC is the federal agency tasked with reviewing and approving all interstate energy projects, most notably those involving oil pipelines and power line transmissions. Dozens of such projects, amounting to billions of dollars, remain on hold because the commission has been paralyzed and unable to approve or deny building requests.
“We’ve never had a situation like this before, with such an acute backlog,” David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, a trade group representing energy consumers and producers, told the Houston Chronicle. “There’s a level of dysfunction in the Senate and other parts of the government that are now impacting our ability to do our daily work.”
The Senate Energy Committee said hearings on Glick and McIntyre will be held next month.